Sea Books


“..the great flood-gates of the wonder-world swung open..”

Herman Melville “Moby-Dick”

Books open my eyes.
Without knowledge the world is flat.
Each and every writer teaches me to see, to notice,
to get under the skin of the layered world of the sea.

Sea is present even in the name of my city. Jūrmala translates as ‘the seaside’ and jūra is ‘the sea’. Jūrmala is a sea resort city in Latvia, breathing under pine umbrellas on a stretch of land between river Lielupe and the Baltic Sea. Perfect place for a sea library to wash ashore. Ever since I fell in (love with) water a couple of years ago, books about the sea have become my passion.

In 2018 I have opened a sea library in Jūrmala for locals and others to read. You can borrow a book from my growing collection or I can send it to you by post. You can donate a book to the sea library to help to fill its shelves.

Right now the library is in my studio at home, but the books are reviewed and shared also here, for Beach Books (, a site that will be launched on November 10, 2018) to become a flooded resource of sea literature.


Literature Classics

The Iliad. Homer
Translation by Caroline Alexander, 2015. Ecco, 2015

Moby-Dick or, The Whale
Herman Melville, 1851. Penguin Books, 2013

A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man
James Joyce, 1916. Penguin Books, 2013

James Joyce, 1922. Oxford University Press, 2008

The Old Man and The Sea
Ernest Hemingway, 1952. Vintage, 2000

To The Lighthouse
Virginia Woolf, 1927. Oxford University Press, 2008

The Waves
Virginia Woolf, 1931. Vintage Classics, 2000

The Sea, The Sea
Iris Murdoch, 1978. Vintage, 1999


Homer & Greek Sea

The War That Killed Achilles: The True Story of Homer’s Iliad and the Trojan War
Caroline Alexander, 2009. Penguin Books, 2010

The Mighty Dead: Why Homer Matters
Adam Nicolson, 2014. William Collins, 2014

Sailing the Wine-Dark Sea: Why the Greeks Matter
Thomas Cahill, 2013. Anchor Books, 2014

The Sea in the Greek Imagination
Marie-Claire Beaulieu, 2016. University of Pennsylvania Press, 2016

The Great Sea: A Human History of the Mediterranean
David Abulafia, 2011, 2014. Penguin Books, 2014

Marathon Looks on the Sea
Olivia Coolidge, 1967. Houghton Mifflin Company Boston, 1967

Social Life in Greece: From Homer to Menander
John P. Mahaffy, 1874. Forgotten Books, 2015

Cities of Legends: The Mycenaean World
K.A. & Diana Wardle, 1997. Bristol Classical Press, 2004

The Rise and Fall of Alexandria: Birthplace of the Modern World
Justin Pollard and Howard Reid, 2006. Penguin Books, 2006

The Fall of Troy
Peter Ackroyd, 2006. Vintage Books, 2007

The Truth of the Sea Gods: The War against the Goddess Hidden in Homer’s Tales
Steven Sora, 2007. Destiny Books, 2007

The Jason Voyage: The Quest for the Golden Fleece
Tim Severin, 1985. Arrow Books, 1986

The Ulysses Voyage
Tim Severin, 1987. Arrow Books, 1988

The Library of Greek Mythology. Apollodorus
Translated by Robin Hard, 1997. Oxford University Press, 2008


The Sea & Water

The Oxford Book of the Sea
Edited by Jonathan Raban, 1992. Oxford University Press, 1992

The Sea and Civilization: A Maritime History of the World
Lincoln Paine, 2013. Atlantic Books, 2015

The Sea: A Cultural History
John Mack, 2011. Reaktion Books, 2014

Sea-Brothers: The Tradition of American Sea Fiction from Moby-Dick to the Present
Bert Bender, 1988. University of Pennsylvania Press, 1988

Sea Changed: Historicizing the Ocean
Edited by Bernhard Klein & Gesa Mackenthun, 2014. Routledge, 2014

The Sea! The Sea! The Shout of the Ten Thousand in the Modern Imagination
Tim Rood, 2004. Duckworth Overlook, 2005

The Edge of the World: How the North Sea Made Us Who We Are
Michael Pye, 2014. Penguin Books, 2015

The Sea Around Us
Rachel L. Carson, 1951. Mentor Books, 1954

The Edge of the Sea
Rachel L. Carson, 1955. Mariner Books, 1998

Passage to Juneau: A Sea and Its Meanings
Jonathan Raban, 1999. Vintage Departures, 1999

Jonathan Raban, 1986. Pan Books, 1987

Bad Land: An American Romance
Jonathan Raban, 1996. Picador, 1997

Island People: The Caribbean and the World
Joshua Jelly-Schapiro, 2016. Canongate, 2016

Leviathan or, The Whale
Philip Hoare, 2008. Fourth Estate, 2009

The Sea Inside
Philip Hoare, 2013. Fourth Estate, 2014

Philip Hoare, 2017. Fourth Estate, 2017

Dominion: A Whale Symposium
Angela Cockayne & Philip Hoare, 2012. Bath Spa University, 2012

The Mirror of the Sea
Joseph Conrad, 1906. Bravo Ebooks, 2016

In the Heart of the Sea
Nathaniel Philbrick, 2000. William Collins, 2015

In Search of Moby Dick: Quest for the White Whale
Tim Severin, 1999. Little, Brown and Company, 1999

The Sinbad Voyage
Tim Severin, 1982. Hutchinson, 1982

Seeking Robinson Crusoe
Tim Severin, 2002. Macmillan, 2002

The Seabird’s Cry
Adam Nicolson, 2017. William Collins, 2017

Sea Room
Adam Nicolson, 2001. HarperCollinsPublishers, 2002

The Sea Is My Country: The Maritime Wold of the Makahs
Joshua L. Reid, 2015.

How To Read Water: Clues, Signs & Patterns from Puddles to the Sea
Tristan Gooley, 2016. Sceptre, 2016

The Outermost House: A Year of Life on the Great Beach of Cape Code
Henry Beston, 1928, 1949. St. Martin’s Griffin, 1988

A Journey To Nowhere: Detours and Riddles in the Lands and History of Courland
Jean-Paul Kauffmann, 2009. Translation by Euan Cameron, 2012.
Maclehose Press, 2012

Gift From The Sea
Anne Morrow Lindberg, 1955, 1975. Pantheon Books, 1997

Brothers Of The Sea
D. R. Sherman, 1966. Heinemann Educational Books LTD, 1972

The Songlines
Bruce Chatwin, 1987. Vintage, 1998

Land’s Edge: A Coastal Memoir
Tim Winton, 1993. Picador, 2012

Tim Winton, 2008. Picador, 2008

Venice Is A Fish: A Cultural Guide
Tiziano Scarpa, 2000. Translation by Shaun Whiteside, 2008
Serpent’s Tail, 2008

Watermark: An Essay on Venice
Joseph Brodsky, 1992. Penguin Books, 2013

Poseidon’s Steed: The Story of Seahorses, From Myth to Reality
Helen Scales, 2009. Gotham Books, 2009

Spirals in Time: The Secret Life and Curious Afterlife of Seashells
Helen Scales, 2015. Bloomsbury Sigma, 2015

The Outrun
Amy Liptrot, 2016. Canongate, 2016

Icebreaker: A Voyage Far North
Horatio Clare, 2017. Chatto & Windus, 2017

Down to the Sea in Ships
Horatio Clare, 2014. Chatto & Windus, 2014

Sicily: through writer’s eyes
Horatio Clare, 2006. Eland London, 2006

To the River: A Journey Beneath the Surface
Olivia Laing, 2011. Canongate, 2011

Atlantic: A Vast Ocean of a Million Stories
Simon Winchester, 2010. Harper Press, 2011

Playing with Water: Passion and Solitude on a Philippine Island
James Hamilton-Paterson,  1987. Macmillan London, 1987

Seven-Tenths: The Sea and its Thresholds
James Hamilton-Paterson, 1992. Hutchinson London, 1992

Where the Wild Winds are: Walking Europe’s Winds from Pennines to Provence
Nick Hunt, 2017. Nicholas Brealey Publishing, 2017

Ground Work: Writings on Places and People
Edited by Tim Dee, 2018. Jonathan Cape London, 2018

The Mermaid and Mrs Hancock
Imogen Hermes Gowar, 2018. Penguin Random House, 2018

Diving Belles
Lucy Wood, 2012. Bloomsbury, 2012

Lucy Wood, 2015. Bloomsbury, 2015

The Sing of the Shore
Lucy Wood, 2018. Fourth Estate, 2018

Burnt Island
Alice Thompson, 2013. Salt Publishing, 2013

A New Map of Wonders: A Journey in Search of Modern Marvels
Caspar Henderson, 2017. Granta Books, 2017

All our Waves are Water: Stumbling Toward Enlightenment and the Perfect Ride
Jaimal Yogis, 2017. Harper Wave, 2017

The Immeasurable World: Journey in Desert Places
William Atkins, 2018. Faber & Faber, 2018